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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Spring Asparagus with White Bean Sauce


I have to admit, I was a little scared to make this recipe from Karina's Cooking By The Seasons. (Karina is Gluten-Free Goddess). I was intrigued by the high protein bean sauce, now that's a novel approach to asparagus, and Alanna (of A Veggie Venture) and I had decided it would fun to both make this recipe and post it on the same day. But I was afraid of the curry powder. Curry powder with white beans and white wine? I couldn't quite imagine how this combination of flavors would taste. What if I hated it? But its good to throw your cares to the wind occasionally, so I did. And, guess what, it all worked out beautifully (see above).

I decided to go against the grain and actually follow the recipe. I did leave out the 1/2 tsp of fennel because I didn't have any. And I used black pepper, not white pepper, because I have a thing about white pepper.

This is a divine way to prepare asparagus. It's very lightly sauted in olive oil and then cooked a little longer with lemon juice, salt and pepper. The result was wonderfully crunchy lemony asparagus. I had to stop myself eating it plain. You do want to use asparagus with thin stems or you will have to be careful not to overcook the spears.

So back to the sauce. The curry flavor is really mellowed by the lemon juice when the sauce combines with the asparagus right at the end, so that the sauce barely tastes of curry, but rather has a mild savory flavor. The sauce is slightly sweet from the wine, which did worry me, but actually it was fine with the sweet young asparagus. (I'm not the sort of person that would ever put raisins in a curry.) I used a fruity chardonnay because that's what I had, I imagine a drier white would produce a less sweet result. What's remarkable about the sauce (besides its unique mellow savory flavor) is how creamy and tasty it is, while using very little fat.

It's very quick and easy to make. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and fry 4 minced cloves of garlic for one minute. Add 1/2 tsp curry powder (and 1/2 tsp fennel) and cook, stirring for one minute. Add a can of drained, rinsed white cannellini beans and stir to coat with the garlic-curry mixture. Season with sea salt and pepper. Puree the beans with 1 tbsp of white wine and 1 tbsp of vegetable broth. Add additional tbsp of each until desired sauce consistency is reached. Check seasoning and serve warm over the asparagus.

Now read Alanna's version at A Veggie Venture. We also plan to make another recipe from Cooking by the Seasons later in the month - others welcome!

11 Comments:

Blogger Alanna said...

Thanks for "sharing" the kitchen! Looking at the smoothness of your sauce, I wish now that I'd pureed all the beans, not just half. We live and learn: and this is definitely a keeper! Many thanks Ms Karina!

7:43 AM  
Blogger SusanV said...

I just saw this at Alanna's blog and commented there that I have had this recipe marked for a while, but since asparagus is no longer in season here, I haven't been able to make it. Your lovely presentation and Alanna's comments about it have convinced me that I need to spend the extra bucks for some asparagus!

8:21 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Alanna,

Thank you! It was really fun to team up.
Yes, I forgot to mention that I changed the recipe and pureed all of the beans. The sauce still had texture. I used a mini prep food processor to make the sauce, which worked very well.

Hi Susan, it really is a delicious dish and very low in fat so I highly recommend it to you. Why not try the sauce on a different vegetable? I think it would be great on cauliflower - I'm always looking for a low fat sub for cauliflower in cheese sauce and I think this would be great! I think any veg with a bit of crunch would work!

9:41 AM  
Blogger karina said...

You are all goddesses in the kitchen! I love reading your comments! What FUN!!! Thank you!

And I think this sauce would be brilliant on cauliflower!

12:41 PM  
Anonymous bea at La Tartine Gourmande said...

Interesting sauce indeed, especially for me who never cook those beans, and don't ask me why! Miam, it sounds delicious

2:05 PM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

I think this is such a fun idea. I got the book too, so count me in when you try the next recipe. Love the way this asparagus looks.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Bea - I, too, have to use beans more. I aways mean to but then come up with something cheesy instead!
p.s. thanks for doing the recipe meme! Check out Bea's responses at La Tartine Gourmande

Kalyn - definitely! Its Alanna's choice this time.

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Catherine: This looked so good that I tried it myself tonight. Even my son loved it, particularly the sauce. Since he normally turns his nose up and most any kind of sauce I deemed this one a winner!

6:42 PM  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I was completely enchanted by the two of you approaching the same recipe in your own personal ways. Please do it again!
But you know what? I don't think I'd have selected a recipe of bean goop on asparagus... However, now that you've done it and liked it... Well, maybe. :D

5:57 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Dave - glad to hear you liked this too!

cookiecrumb - it really was fun to collaborate on this. I agree, the bean sauce is counter-intuitive, but it works!

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Ivonne said...

This looks wonderful, Catherine! Great job!

8:50 PM  

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